By Tawanda Marwizi
Villagers in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe feels hard done by the ruling Zanu-PF government, which despite getting a major share of their votes from the district, has failed to improve their lives.
Provincial affairs minister for Mashonaland East, Apollonia Munzverengwi, told The Anchor that there was need for more government schools in UMP as private and church-owned schools give priority to their members.
Private schools also charge exorbitant fees which villagers can not afford.
UMP has over the years proved to be one of the ruling Zanu-PF’s strongholds.
However, despite its dominance in the district, the ruling party seems to have neglected the people who live in abject poverty and are victims of perennial food shortages.
In an interview, Munzverengwi said there are private-owned schools making life difficult for pupils who are charged exorbitant amounts in the district.
“There are no adequate government schools in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, even the day schools and now it is very difficult for people to access education because most of the schools are owned by churches who give first preference to their members,” she said.
Munzwerengi said government intervention was the only way to solve the crisis.
“Churches give their members first preference when enrolling making it difficult for our people to get places for their children.
“I am asking the government in my capacity as the Minister of State to make an intervention to this issue,” she said.
Munzverengwi said while they are seized with other problems, education was their first priority in Mashonaland East.
“We have so many issues here but then education is our main priority. Our people deserve better education. Government schools will go a long way in averting the problems,” she said.
She said it was sad that the province has been known for voting resoundingly for Zanu-PF so it was government’s prerogative to offer the people best services.
“You know that Uzumba is popular for producing results in favour of our party, Zanu-PF, so it is now time for the government to give back to the community. I am pleased that some of the things are being implemented by our President,” she said.
Before a recent cabinet reshuffle, former primary and secondary education minister Paul Mavima said government was constructing 2 000 schools across the country.
Mavhima also acknowledged the shortage of government schools in UMP promising to establish more schools in the district.
His predecessor Cain Matema said though he was aware of the government programme to construct 2 000 schools across the country, he would look into the challenges affecting UMP.
“I will look into that issue of Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe but I know government is building schools across the country,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing an acute shortage of school since 2013 hence the need for the construction of more schools to cover the 2 000 schools gap.
More than 10 percent of school-going children, particularly those at secondary level, are dropping out of school with the issue of distance being the major cause.
Government seeks to ensure that children do not walk more than five kilomentres to the nearest school.